Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Calif. Oil Transfers-Prefers Job Losses/Higher Gas Costs

The Luddites do not like living in 2015—it appears they would prefer 1015. They oppose nuclear power, wind turbines, solar, coal and the old favorite, oil. They have killed the coal industry and tens of thousands of jobs, along with a cheap clean source of energy the rest of the world loves and uses. Now they are going after the oil industry.

They know they cannot stop the drilling for oil—except if it is done by fracking. But, the big push is to stop train, truck and pipeline transportation of the oil from the well head. Why drill for oil if there is no way to get it to the refinery and then to market? The goal here is to assure the wealthy an expensive but comfortable lifestyle while the middle class and poor barely survive. In Kern County they are now going after oil via train. No coal or oil and the United States will look like a 1950’s Third World country.

“Matt Krough, campaign director for ForestEthics, said 5 million Californians live in the evacuation zone for an oil train derailment or explosion. He said it’s too dangerous to allow the Bakersfield Crude Terminal to increase traffic without investigating the threat to air quality and public safety.

“You see the potential for these oil trains passing through every major population center of California,” he said, “crossing critical waterways and aquifer recharge zones, crossing through valuable farmland.” To Matt, living has the potential of disaster, a very depressed person.

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Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Calif. Oil Transfers

Public Service News, 1/30/15 

 

Environmental groups are suing over the expansion of one of the state’s largest crude-oil operations.

The lawsuit contends that the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District illegally approved permits without environmental review of the risks of importing millions of gallons of toxic and potentially explosive oil.

Matt Krough, campaign director for ForestEthics, said 5 million Californians live in the evacuation zone for an oil train derailment or explosion. He said it’s too dangerous to allow the Bakersfield Crude Terminal to increase traffic without investigating the threat to air quality and public safety.

“You see the potential for these oil trains passing through every major population center of California,” he said, “crossing critical waterways and aquifer recharge zones, crossing through valuable farmland.”

The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice, maintains that Air District officials approved the permits in a piecemeal fashion to keep the project from getting public scrutiny.

The Kern County terminal opened last year and is allowed to accept up to 100 crude-oil trains a day, including those carrying volatile crude from the Bakken shale formation as well as heavier and highly toxic tar sands.

According to the California Energy Commission, oil shipments by railroad into California have hit an all-time record, which Krough said also increases the risk of a disastrous spill.

“That’s rare, but it’s a real risk,” he said. “The other side, though, is that there is a chronic exposure for people all along the rail route to emissions from the trains in transit, and from this terminal itself.”

Krough said California’s weather also is a hazard for trains carrying volatile crude oil.

“These tank cars, black ones, coming through California in the summer – and you actually have boiling contents, with the constant popping of these pressure-released valves,” he said. “This is the sort of thing that needs to be studied and understood.”

The lawsuit contends that the expansion of the Bakersfield Crude Terminal could lead to a 1,000 percent increase in the amount of crude imported by rail into California each year.

 

Barack Obama: Give Transgender Illegal Aliens Hormone Therapy—Cut Benefits to Veterans and Current Military

As we all know, last year, starting about now, Barack Obama put together a campaign to import illegal aliens from Central America—possibly 100,000 answered his call. Now he has decided to put out another call for illegal aliens, this time to a specific group, the transgender community. How does he reach them? By letting them know if they come to the United States illegally, the taxpayers will pay for their hormone therapy—which could be for many years till their hearings are held.

As we know, Obama just gave the order that ALL hearings are held up till 2019—not a typo.

“With respect to treatment while in detention – the medical care standard – the standards guarantees a right to hormone therapy for individuals who need it for treatment, and even in facilities that are not covered by that standard. Our ICE House Service Corps is very vigilant on that issue to ensuring that individuals receive necessary hormone therapy,” said Kevin Landy, assistant director of the ICE office of detention policy and planning.

According to Commission Chairman Martin Castro, the Department of Homeland Security is the “largest agency that has custody of transgender individuals.”

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ICE: Transgender Illegals Guaranteed ‘Right to Hormone Therapy’ in Detention

By Melanie Hunter, CNSNews, 1/30/15

An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement testified Friday during a discussion on immigration detention facilities, hosted by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, that transgender individuals are guaranteed “a right to hormone therapy.”

“With respect to treatment while in detention – the medical care standard – the standards guarantees a right to hormone therapy for individuals who need it for treatment, and even in facilities that are not covered by that standard. Our ICE House Service Corps is very vigilant on that issue to ensuring that individuals receive necessary hormone therapy,” said Kevin Landy, assistant director of the ICE office of detention policy and planning.

According to Commission Chairman Martin Castro, the Department of Homeland Security is the “largest agency that has custody of transgender individuals.”

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the 2011 Operations Manual ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards – ICE’s operations manual for its detention facilities – offers guidelines for transgender illegal immigrants who have been receiving hormone therapy before they are apprehended.

“Transgender detainees who were already receiving hormone therapy when taken into ICE custody shall have continued access,” the report said. “All transgender detainees shall have access to mental health care, and other transgender-related health care and medication based on medical need. Treatment shall follow accepted guidelines regarding medically necessary transition-related care.”

 

Dr. Ross: California’s “Public Health” System Seems to be Trying to Kill Smokers

Which is more dangerous, a cigarette or a vaporized system to cure people of smoking? To the Leftists wanting to continue the stream of cigarette taxes, while proclaiming hatred of the smelly weed, the “E-cigarette” is a danger to their ideology. Greg Gutfield on “The Five” a few days ago that this was about money and fear, not science or need.

Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health, in an exclusive article for the California Political News and Views noted, “The net result of all this alarmism against e-cigs is to protect cigarette markets. Why, you may ask? I fear the reason has more to do with maintaining local budgets propped up via cigarette taxes, and for the academic centers, vast amounts of funding from the mega-rich pharmaceutical companies who purvey nearly-useless nicotine replacement patches, gums and drugs.”

This is really not about cigarettes at all. It is about the ongoing campaign to kill freedom and the right to choose how to live.

e-cigarette

California’s “Public Health” System Seems to be Trying to Kill Smokers
Gilbert Ross, M.D. , The American Council on Science and Health 2/2/15

Special to the California Political News and Views 

Given that cigarette smoking is the most important — and preventable — public health problem our country faces, and has been for decades, I cannot help but wonder why the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has decided to wage an all-out war – a jihad, in fact — against the most likely method to help smokers quit their deadly addiction: electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). Their latest weapon: a 20-page booklet, State Health Officer’s Report on E-Cigarettes, sub-titled A Community Health Threat.

The pervasive animus spewing from our public health establishment, fomenting baseless fear of e-cigs, follows the Big Lie template perfected by the tobacco cartel in the 1950s: the antithesis of sound public health policy. Like many wars, this campaign began in stealth, with numerous cities and counties enacting restrictions against indoor “vaping” (as using an e-cig is called), and gradually spread, by measures deeming e-cigs as tobacco products, incorporating them into “clean air” acts — although the lawmakers were well aware that e-cigs contain no tobacco, and emit no smoke. Bans on vaping in public parks and beaches ensued, based on the vague fear of “renormalization”: as if seeing someone vaping would entice naive youngsters into following suit, and then of course becoming smokers. There is zero evidence that this is a realistic concern.

These incremental steps have now become a monstrous crescendo, a mass propaganda campaign to exaggerate hypothetical risks of e-cigs while ignoring or downplaying solid evidence of both their effectiveness in helping smokers quit, and their lack of adverse effects. The font of much of this hysteria and mythology emanates from the University of California-San Francisco, where the formerly respected anti-tobacco advocate, Stanton Glantz, holds court. He and his coterie have taken over the means of communication, both of the official CDPH and even of most of the mainstream media, which parrots their increasingly shrill alarms warning desperate smokers to avoid e-cigs at all costs! In other words — given the sad fact that the FDA-approved cessation methods work less than ten percent of the time — keep on smoking!

The latest CDPH broadside follow hard upon one released two weeks ago: How to Protect Your Family From E-Cigarettes. One would think that on every corner, some underworld character was lying in wait to grab your children and entice them into a lifetime of vaping and nicotine addiction. But, what about the real enemy: cigarettes? Eh, not so much interest from Dr. Ron Chapman, the “State Health Officer” responsible for much of these travesties. He and his minions are focused, laser-like, on keeping California’s citizenry safe from e-cigs!

And he is being increasingly successful! Recent surveys have shown that smokers who were contemplating quitting (three-quarters say they plan to quit) are now avoiding trying e-cigs much more often than they were even a year ago, largely due to the fear campaign engendered in Sacramento and San Francisco. As well as from our nation’s public health establishment: the CDC and its head, Tom Frieden, are also in the vanguard of fear-mongering against e-cigs, along with local governmental officials at every level. And who is rejoicing at this success? Why, the makers of cigarettes! The net result of all this alarmism against e-cigs is to protect cigarette markets. Why, you may ask? I fear the reason has more to do with maintaining local budgets propped up via cigarette taxes, and for the academic centers, vast amounts of funding from the mega-rich pharmaceutical companies who purvey nearly-useless nicotine replacement patches, gums and drugs.

The CDPH warnings point out the attractive ads for e-cigs, and the fact that more young people are experimenting with them. True enough, but the number of teens smoking has declined simultaneously! The so-called health gurus also assert that we just don’t know the long-term dangers of e-cigs. Perhaps, but we sure as hell know the dangers of smoking, don’t we? Listen, no one wants to sell e-cigarettes to anyone who is not already addicted to nicotine, generally in the form of cigarette smoking. That is the key factor that those who oppose e-cigs always ignore: e-cigs are for helping smokers get their nicotine without the hundreds of deadly chemicals in smoke! Almost a half-million Americans die from smoking each year: none from vaping. If I had Dr. Chapman, or Glantz, or Frieden, across the table from me now, I’d ask them: doctors, what is your putative solution to the deadly problem of cigarettes in America?

I know one thing: they would not say “e-cigarettes.” And that is official public health malpractice, gross negligence, rising to the level of criminal misconduct, in my opinion. They should stop spreading lies about e-cigarettes and instead encourage America’s 43 million smokers to try vaping to help them finally escape the clutches of their lethal addiction.

 

SoCal City Voter Wants to Stop Online Election–system Goes Live TODAY

Ed Snowden proved that the Internet is not safe. Any information on a server, anywhere can be stolen and manipulated. The North Koreans also proved the Internet is not a safe place. Every year you read about teenagers that go into the Principals office in the middle of the night and steal exams or change grades on the school servers. Now the people of Del Mar are being forced to vote via the Internet for an advisory plan for the Civic Center.

Though this is an advisory vote, does anybody believe a developer or contractor with a chance to gain from one plan versus another could not try to use a teenage hacker to get the results pre-ordained? The safety of this vote is non-existent. The concept is a good one, but technology has out run the possibility—does not take much to be able to break through a government firewall and steal information or change data. Just ask Sony.

“In his lawsuit in Superior Court, Mohns says that the voting system “has not been certified by the California Secretary of State,” and that the City Council did not give final approval for it until its Jan. 20 meeting.
Mohns says that “immediate injunctive relief by this court is required” because Del Mar wants to go live with the system on Feb. 2. City residents can vote by Internet-connected computers, tablets and smartphones. Everyone Counts will also provide tablets for public use.”

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SoCal City Voter Wants to Stop Online Election

By ROBERT KAHN, Courthouse News, 1/30/15

 

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Del Mar rushed through approval of an Internet-based city voting system and plans to use it Monday, a resident says in a request for an injunction against it.
The Tuesday vote will be an advisory election, in which voters will be asked to choose one of three plans for a new Civic Center, also known as the City Hall/Town Hall Project. Only Del Mar voters will be allowed to vote.
Del Mar, pop. 44,000, 20 miles north of San Diego, is a wealthy community best known for its racetrack.
On Thursday, Dr. Edward Mohns sued Del Mar, its city manager, its administrative services director and Everyone Counts Inc., a San Diego-based company that got the contract to set up the Internet voting system.
In his lawsuit in Superior Court, Mohns says that the voting system “has not been certified by the California Secretary of State,” and that the City Council did not give final approval for it until its Jan. 20 meeting.
Mohns says that “immediate injunctive relief by this court is required” because Del Mar wants to go live with the system on Feb. 2. City residents can vote by Internet-connected computers, tablets and smartphones. Everyone Counts will also provide tablets for public use.
The City Council voted on Dec. 15, 2014 to authorize the city manager to enter a sole-source procurement contract with Everyone Counts.
The company will use proprietary software and will count the votes via its own servers.
The city will make computers available for voting, and voters will have use a unique password that Del Mar mailed to each registered voter. They also will need a secondary identifier, such as birthdate or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
The contract allows Everyone Counts to conduct up to two more advisory elections in the next 12 months.
Mohns claims the City Council used a transparent dodge to skirt state law. He says a “voting integrity organization” told the Council at its Jan. 20 meeting that Internet voting is prohibited by California law, whether it’s called an online “advisory election” or something else.
Nonetheless, the City Council unanimously voted to go ahead. But it “agreed that what it had heretofore consistently referred to as an ‘advisory election’ should instead be referred to as a ‘community poll.’ The change in nomenclature was based on written advice in a staff report that California law ‘does not allow advisory votes, or any election, to be conducted online,'” Mohns says.
That’s not good enough, Mohns says. Call it what you will, it violates California Elections Code § 19205(a) and 19202(d). He wants the electronic election enjoined, plus costs.
He is represented by Lowell Finley, of Oakland.

Kaiser Permanente Nurse Files Federal Charge Against Union

For months now the patients of Kaiser-Permanente have been insecure about the services of the system. Different unions have struck Kaiser for a day or two, up to a week at any time. Sometimes it is the doctors, others times it is the technicians and then you have the nurse—they really love to walk off the job at Kaiser. Yet, it is a one way street—the unions tells its forced members when to work, if they work and how they work.

But when the “members” ask for information, the unions considers themselves as a security agency and information is only a one way street. This has caused a nurse to sue the union to get information. Maybe the unions should be penalized by the National Labor Relations Board for their failure to be transparent.

“Despite Wilber’s union resignation, the CNA union hierarchy has refused to follow the federal disclosure requirements outlined under Beck and its progeny.

“CNA union bosses are keeping this nurse in the dark about their forced-dues expenditures by skirting federal disclosure guidelines,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This case demonstrates that California desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary.”

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Kaiser Permanente Nurse Files Federal Charge Against Union

By National Right To Work Committee Staff, 1/30/15

Case underscores need for Right to Work protections to make union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary

A local Kaiser Permanente nurse has filed a federal charge against the California Nurses Association (CNA) union for violating her rights and failing to follow federal disclosure requirements.

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento nurse Elizabeth Wilber filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On November 16, 2014, Wilber sent a letter resigning her union membership in the CNA union. Her letter also objected to paying full dues.

Under federal labor law, workers have the right to refrain from formal union membership. However, because California does not have Right to Work protections for workers, nonmember workers can be forced to pay a part of union dues and fees or be fired from their job.

As a result of the Foundation’s U.S. Supreme Court victory in Communications Workers v. Beck, employees can refrain from paying for politics and many other union activities. Union officials must also provide workers with an independently-audited financial breakdown of all forced-dues union expenditures and the opportunity to challenge the amount of forced union fees before an impartial decision maker.

Despite Wilber’s union resignation, the CNA union hierarchy has refused to follow the federal disclosure requirements outlined under Beck and its progeny.

“CNA union bosses are keeping this nurse in the dark about their forced-dues expenditures by skirting federal disclosure guidelines,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This case demonstrates that California desperately needs a Right to Work law, which would make union affiliation and dues payments completely voluntary.”

Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism

With Half of California’s Kids On Medicaid, Advocates Worry About Service

Wow, Sacramento has been so busy trying to sign up people for Medicaid, they forgot that once signed up, the people, especially the kids, will need service—doctors, hospitals, etc. This at a time, the Guv and Obama have cut reimbursements by 60%. What good is the back slapping for the sign ups if the card is as useful as a car without an engine? It looks good on the outside, but cannot be used.

“Evidence is emerging that the public insurance program is falling short in some key respects. According to an ongoing study led by Ninez Ponce at UCLA and funded by the California Healthcare Foundation, children on Medi-Cal were five times more likely than kids on private plans to have visited the emergency department for asthma care because they couldn’t see their own doctor.

And according to a state report based on 2013 data, more than two-thirds of California’s Medicaid managed care plans performed below the national average for Medicaid plans in ensuring that children had required immunizations by age 2.”

What more sick kids? Grow Medicaid.

Kids

With Half of California’s Kids On Medicaid, Advocates Worry About Service

By Barbara Feder Ostrov, Kaiser Health News,   1/29/15

California’s Medi-Cal program has grown to cover nearly half of the state’s children, causing policymakers and child advocates to question the ability of the taxpayer-funded program to adequately serve so many poor kids.

In the past two years alone, the program has added nearly 1 million young people up to age 20,  including those newly eligible for Medi-Cal coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The increase brings the total number of young people on Medi-Cal to 5.2 million, more than ever before.

Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid and the largest program of its kind in the nation.

Many pediatricians and specialists already refuse to accept new Medi-Cal patients, at least in part because the program offers among the lowest payment rates in the country. New rate cuts took effect this January. Health care advocates say adding more children to the mix will only worsen the likelihood of timely treatment.

Evidence is emerging that the public insurance program is falling short in some key respects. According to an ongoing study led by Ninez Ponce at UCLA and funded by the California Healthcare Foundation, children on Medi-Cal were five times more likely than kids on private plans to have visited the emergency department for asthma care because they couldn’t see their own doctor.

And according to a state report based on 2013 data, more than two-thirds of California’s Medicaid managed care plans performed below the national average for Medicaid plans in ensuring that children had required immunizations by age 2.

Advocates and some policymakers say the state has downplayed problems with children’s care and not provided adequate data to help evaluate and improve services. They say officials have traditionally paid more attention to Medi-Cal’s more costly adult population.

“When you have half of all of California’s children in Medi-Cal, it’s essential that the state keeps its promises to children that they can get access to the care that they need. This is our future,” said state Sen. Richard Pan, D- Sacramento, a pediatrician who has been pushing the agency to provide better data on children’s care.

State officials say they are working to improve access to care for children but do not see widespread problems or a need to raise reimbursement rates.

“At this time, we feel the rates are sufficient,” said Anastasia Dodson, associate director of policy at the California Department of Health Care Services, which oversees Medi-Cal.

Over the past two years, Medi-Cal absorbed about 750,000 children when California eliminated its Healthy Families child health insurance program, which was aimed at working families with higher incomes than the Medi-Cal population.  An additional 232,000 children joined with the expansion of Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, according to a spokesman for the health care services department.

Nearly all of these children are enrolled in managed care plans, which pay a fixed monthly rate per patient in an effort to save money and streamline care.  Most families pay small monthly premiums for each child depending on income.

The transition from Healthy Families, which generally paid higher rates to doctors,  saved  about $39 million in the 2013-2014 budget year, said Dodson, less than the agency’s initial estimate of $52 million. (Overall, the Medi-Cal budget is projected to be $95.4 billion in 2015-2016.)

The transition went smoothly for many families, but had its share of serious challenges.

Some children lost access to critical services, such as autism behavioral therapies, that had been previously covered by Healthy Families. The autism services were eventually restored, but advocates faulted the Department of Health Care Services for being slow to react, and families are still dealing with the fallout of trying to regain services for their children.

Glaiza Santiago of San Jose lost autism therapy for her 6-year-old son, Ernesto, for about a year after her children were transferred from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal. Only after filing complaints with her managed care plan, Santa Clara Family Health Plan, and the Department of Health Care Services was she able to get Ernesto reevaluated so that his therapy could resume.

“It’s just been a battle to get him therapy and the other things that he needs,” said Santiago, who has two other young children and is studying to become a medical assistant. “I felt so helpless…I never realized it would be that hard. I never had problems before.”

Other families have experienced long waits for care, particularly dental services.

Diana Vega, an elementary school teacher in San Pablo, has mixed feelings about her three children’s experience with Medi-Cal managed care. She appreciates that her premiums to participate in the program have declined by about 25 percent since switching from Healthy Families; her kids also were able to keep their pediatrician.

Like Santiago, she had trouble restoring therapy services for her son, diagnosed with autism and Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic condition that weakens muscles. But she also was taken aback by how much more difficult it was to get eyeglasses and dental care.

After waiting nearly eight months for an appointment with a dentist who would accept her children’s Denti-Cal insurance, Vega said, the dentist said the insurance would not pay for him to fill a small cavity in her daughter’s mouth because it wasn’t yet “visible to the eye.” So Vega purchased a separate dental insurance policy for her children and abandoned Denti-Cal.

Medi-Cal’s dental services have drawn particular criticism, including a state audit released in December that found that dental services had been provided to less than half of the program’s children, mostly because so few dentists were willing to accept the low reimbursement rates.

Dodson of the health care services department said that families can call a telephone service center (800-322-6384) when they are having problems finding a dentist or a timely appointment with any provider, and the state is working to recruit new dentists willing to accept new Denti-Cal patients.

Dodson said her agency regularly monitors the networks of Medi-Cal managed care plans to ensure there are enough doctors to care for patients and that she has not heard of widespread problems for children who need specialty care.  Efforts are underway statewide to increase the number of doctors willing to accept Medi-Cal patients, particularly in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where the Inland Empire Health Plan is offering physicians bonuses of up to $100,000 to treat its members.

The agency also is working with a new committee of experts, the Medi-Cal Children’s Health Advisory Panel, to develop better pediatric data that will help identify any gaps in care, she said.

At the panel’s first meeting in January, Sen. Pan, who pushed legislation to create the panel – against the Department of Health Care Services’ wishes – cast the stakes for the committee’s work in stark terms:

“When you’re covering half of California’s children, it’s hardly ‘those kids’ anymore,” he said. “It’s all our kids.’”

 

Origami Condom Inventor Has to Pay Back Taxpayer Funds–$2.4 Million

This has to be the sickest use of $2.4 million of your tax dollars. That much was spent to develop origami condoms. What is origami? From Wikipedia, “Origami (折り紙?, from ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper” (kami changes to gami due to rendaku) is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word “origami” is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin.”

The Feds spent $2.4 million dollars to create “beautiful’ folded objects from condoms. There are no words to express the outrage we should all have for this expenditure. At what point do those involved get fired? Why hasn’t the head of the agency been fired, publicly, for this gross mismanagement? On April 15 when you are paying your taxes, think of a pretty origami condom on your fireplace mantle.

“In emails obtained by the Free Beacon, Resnic, who received more than $2.4 million to develop the so-called origami condoms, states that he is in the process of working on a repayment plan for at least some of the grant funding he received.”

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Origami Condom Inventor Has to Pay Back Taxpayer Funds

BY: Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon, 1/29/15

“Origami condom” inventor Daniel Resnic has said that he must pay back taxpayer funds to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

In emails obtained by the Free Beacon, Resnic, who received more than $2.4 million to develop the so-called origami condoms, states that he is in the process of working on a repayment plan for at least some of the grant funding he received.

Resnic also recently lost in court, as a lawsuit he filed against a former employee was thrown out last week. Two lawyers had dropped Resnic, and the second of the two attorneys, Martin J. Kaufman, cited an “irreparable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship,” asserting that Resnic refused to pay or cooperate.

The idea of the origami condom—a non-rolled, silicone-based condom designed to “increase pleasure”—was approved by the NIH, and Resnic received grants to create his condoms in male, female, and anal versions.

While Resnic claims that the male condom will hit the market this year, a former employee is accusing him of massive fraud.

The employee alleged that Resnic misspent millions of taxpayer dollars on trips to Costa Rica, lavish parties at the Playboy mansion, full-body plastic surgery, a condo in Provincetown, Mass., and patents for numerous “get-rich-quick” schemes.

The employee also accused Resnic of sexual harassment and said he asked friends to try out his origami condoms and report back. The condoms were also tested on rabbits, which were “sacrificed by lethal injection” after having pieces of condoms vaginally inserted for five days.

The employee, who requested anonymity, supplied hundreds of documents to the Free Beacon supporting his claims.

However, Resnic blamed the employee for misusing grant funds, and filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles. That lawsuit was dismissed on Jan. 21 after Resnic failed to appear in court or answer the employee’s cross-complaint.

“In this case, Plaintiff appears to have abandoned his action,” read a motion to dismiss the case, filed by the employee’s attorney on Dec. 23.

The day after the Free Beacon published a story on Resnic’s legal troubles, the origami condom inventor sent an email to the employee’s lawyer, in which he claimed that he had been ordered to pay back funds to the NIH.

“First, I would suggest that you and your client discontinue your reprehensible and relentless media campaigns that have continued in Washington or we will seek a gag order from the judge on Nov 17th,” Resnic wrote on Nov. 5.

Resnic then said he would be willing to drop his ill-fated lawsuit against his employee only if the employee agreed to pay back the grant money. He offered a payment plan that would last almost 10,000 years.

“Second, I would be open to mutually dropping the claims and counterclaims and moving on with my work if your client agrees to the following:

“Make restitution to my company of the stolen monies ($487,377.32) at one dollar ($1.oo) /week, by personal check, sent by U.S. mail, until the funds are recovered,” Resnic wrote. “(Yes, that’s 487,377 weeks or 9,372 yrs. of payments).”

“Nonetheless, he has put me on the hook with the National Institutes of Health for the stolen monies that I am required by law to repay,” Resnic continued. “I need to produce a settlement agreement (whatever the terms) to the NIH that a recovery plan has been agreed to.”

In an email the following day, Resnic demanded that the Free Beacon retract its previous stories, which detailed the NIH funding and accusations of fraud.

“One additional item came up to add to the list,” Resnic wrote on Nov. 6. “[The former employee] must also request a retraction from the publication that wrote the stories, the Washington Free Beacon, and they must print a retraction.”

“While you and your client deliberate the matter I will consider adding items to the list. Best, Danny Resnic.”

The Free Beacon has reached out to Resnic for comment on previous stories. When the Free Beacon asked Resnic in November about his lawyer’s statement that he “refused to pay legal fees,” Resnic asked to never be contacted again.

“Kindly do not contact me or the staff again regarding any stories. Best, Dan Resnic,” the email read.

Resnic was not pleased when the Free Beacon asked for his comment regarding his repayment of NIH funds.

“In a previous email you were directed not to contact me or my office again,” he wrote. “What part of ‘do not contact’ are you misunderstanding. Additional contact will be considered harassment.”

Fifteen minutes later, after no response from the Free Beacon, Resnic said, “You’ve been moved to SPAM.”

The NIH told the Free Beacon that they do not comment on potential or pending litigation.

 

GMO Foods are Safe and Useful, in Spite of Arguments to the Contrary

A couple of years ago I was at a meeting where a lady cried that she and her son were being killed by GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). She was convinced that government and food manufacturers were in a cabal to make money, pay off people and assure the poor were harmed by bad food. When told that GMO products showed no problem, cost less, allow grater harvests—hence profits, she said all of that is a lie put out by the manufacturers paid off government officials. Nothing would convince her. You could not reason her out of a position she was not reasoned into.

“I think the most dramatic assertion in last week’s discussion was the statement that feeding GMO food to rats results in cancers. The piece included an ugly photograph of rats with giant tumorous lumps in their sides. One problem with last week’s discussion was that it made assertion after assertion without providing scientific references or even internet links. I will therefore supply the back story to this particular assertion.

A French research lab led by Gilles-Eric Seralini published a paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. It involved some 200 rats that were ostensibly fed either food containing genetically modified corn, or food with little or no GMO corn. Seralini is the founder and director of an organization dedicated to opposing GMO foods, but that is neither here nor there. He has the right to attempt to do science, and to submit his results for publication.”

Daniellle Brown

GMO Foods are Safe and Useful, in Spite of Arguments to the Contrary

Written by Bob Gelfand, City Watch LA, 1/30/15

GELFAND’S WORLD-There was something that bothered me about the opinion piece published here in CityWatch last week opposing genetically modified organisms.  It was a little too perfect. It contained every anti-GMO argument known to science or politics, laid out in logical order. If you can believe the assertions made in that discussion, then there is something to worry about.

I must admit that there was a lot more that bothered me, because I am on the other side of this particular argument. I am therefore making use of the kind invitation by CityWatch to reply. My answer involves two main disagreements. The first is over the scientific facts themselves. The second is over the very obvious differences in world views held by the opposing sides.

I think the most dramatic assertion in last week’s discussion was the statement that feeding GMO food to rats results in cancers. The piece included an ugly photograph of rats with giant tumorous lumps in their sides. One problem with last week’s discussion was that it made assertion after assertion without providing scientific references or even internet links. I will therefore supply the back story to this particular assertion.

A French research lab led by Gilles-Eric Seralini published a paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. It involved some 200 rats that were ostensibly fed either food containing genetically modified corn, or food with little or no GMO corn. Seralini is the founder and director of an organization dedicated to opposing GMO foods, but that is neither here nor there. He has the right to attempt to do science, and to submit his results for publication.

The problem with the Seralini study is that it didn’t really show what Seralini claims it did. In fact, there was a worldwide outcry by professional scientists when the paper appeared. The most common criticism was that given the inadequate numbers of rats in the various test groups (and there were a lot of test groups divided up among a smallish number of rats), it could not be concluded that there was any real difference between rats fed GMO food and the control group. The Seralini paper also goes against the record of many studies that have not found such differences, either from short term or long term exposure.

One of the issues was that this particular strain of rats has a strong tendency to develop cancer all by itself. In fact, given the two years that these rats were maintained in the lab, somewhere between three-quarters and four-fifths of all the rats will develop some kind of tumor just by living. It is a well known characteristic of this strain. When you have that high a level of naturally occurring tumors, there will be a lot of statistical variation, and when the subgroups in the experiment have only 10 animals per group, a random variation of a couple of animals invalidates the study. Criticism of this study was a little more technically dense, but basically ran along these lines.

There were other weaknesses, including a legitimate question as to whether there were other differences in the diets of control vs. test animals, or even whether the control group actually got a GMO-free diet. But these concerns pale in comparison to the point, well understood by careful readers, that Seralini failed to do proper statistics, and that if he had done so, his argumentative assertions would have lost any factual backing.

The paper was so bad, and the complaints by legitimate scientists so telling, that the journal retracted the paper. Let me explain what that means. For a journal or a scientist to retract a publication is pretty much the ultimate embarrassment. It’s somewhat akin to the public apologies made by celebrities after they are caught driving drunk, except that a scientific retraction doesn’t necessarily mean that you were drunk, just incompetent. If you want to refer to this particular work in a discussion of public policy, there is an obligation to state that the publication was not only horribly controversial, but also was retracted by the journal.

You can read a more in depth analysis of the Seralini paper by going to the discussion written by scientist and author Steven Novella.

Since I am bound by scientific and journalistic ethics, I must point out that the Seralini paper was actually resubmitted to another journal and has now been republished. This is creating a bit of a firestorm of its own for the same reasons as before — it’s a lousy paper based on an inadequate study, and it makes assertions not in keeping with its own data.

I’ve gone on at some length to dispose of this story because it would be the most pertinent to all of us, were there any merit to it.

 

Suit filed in effort to stop Bakken oil trains to Bakersfield

Kern County now has a deficit that is over $10 million and growing. The cause is the lowered revenues due to the price of oil going down and the increased cost of pensions (50% increase by CalPERS). The State is trying to control fracking, siting of pipelines means long lawsuits. Now lawsuits are being filed to stop trains from North Dakota coming into the county, which will end jobs and lower tax revenues. It will also guarantee that gas prices in California go up—due to lack of needed crude.

“Crude by rail transport is particularly risky in California because California crude transport routes include travel through some of the state’s most densely populated areas, as well as some of the most sensitive ecological areas and because there are significant gaps in local emergency response capabilities,” the lawsuit says.

The Air District says the project would have only minimal impact on air quality and it disputes the allegations that it acted in secret.”

American jobs are at stake and the Left prefers high costs, lost jobs and a society based on government, not freedom.

fracking oil gas

Suit filed in effort to stop Bakken oil trains to Bakersfield

Central Valley Business Times, 1/30/15

 

•  Groups say permitting was illegal

•  “Crude by rail transport is particularly risky in California”
Community and environmental groups are suing over the expansion of a crude oil operation in Kern County that they say could lead to a 1,000 percent increase in the amount of crude imported by rail into California each year.

The newly opened Bakersfield Crude Terminal in Taft has the capacity to receive two 100-car unit trains a day of crude oil from the Bakken shale formation as well as heavier tar sands. Untreated oil from the Bakken formation is more volatile that other types of crude and has been associated with several spectacular train wrecks including on in July 2013 in Quebec that killed 43 townspeople.

The lawsuit against the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District asks the Kern County Superior Court for an order to void the District’s approval of the plant and keep the facility from operating until it undergoes environmental review.

“Crude by rail transport is particularly risky in California because California crude transport routes include travel through some of the state’s most densely populated areas, as well as some of the most sensitive ecological areas and because there are significant gaps in local emergency response capabilities,” the lawsuit says.

The Air District says the project would have only minimal impact on air quality and it disputes the allegations that it acted in secret.

Earthjustice is representing Association of Irritated Residents (AIR), ForestEthics, Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, and joins Communities for a Better Environment’s staff attorneys in the lawsuit.

It says that a public records request revealed Air District officials acquiescing to requests from the project manager for the Bakersfield Crude Terminal to keep the project out of public scrutiny. In one instance, the project manager asked the Air District to “rerun your numbers” on the facility’s emissions to keep it under the threshold for triggering Clean Air Act review, and the Air District permit officer responded by offering advice for how the project can “avoid public noticing” and pollution controls, the lawsuit says.

In another instance, after the Bakersfield Crude Terminal pulled a permit application following public scrutiny that highlighted the impacts the project would have on air quality and safety, the Air District later approved a slightly modified application, suddenly deeming its approval of the permit “ministerial” and therefore exempt from public notice and pollution controls, the lawsuit contends.

“Ministerial permits are for minor home additions or wedding licenses, not massive crude oil projects that exponentially increase the risk of catastrophe along the railways and jeopardizes communities who live in the paths of these dangerous trains,” says Elizabeth Forsyth, Earthjustice attorney. “The Air District’s role is to protect the residents of the San Joaquin Valley from air pollution, not to help companies avoid public scrutiny and environmental review so they can get up and running as quickly as possible.”

“This behind the scenes approval is beyond egregious, given the fact that these trains are known to be unsafe, as well as because of the region’s already imperiled air quality,” says Sierra Club’s Kern Kaweah Chapter Vice Chairman Gordon Nipp. “We have to wonder what will happen to our communities in the event of a spill or explosion like the ones we’ve seen in other parts of the country.”

Vera Pardee, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, says the Bakersfield Crude Terminal “evaded both state and federal environmental review and was permitted largely in secret.”

 

Kaiser: Healthcare Union Put Patients at Risk During Strike

Millions of Californians depend on Kaiser-Permanente for their health care. My wife and I are among them. We know that we can easily make appointments, staff will be very capable, prepared and at work when we arrive for appointments.   Kaiser has been found guilty by the National Labor Relations Board of unfair labor practices, by promoting one union over another in an election. Yet, while the unions own the management and have lots of control over procedures, they want more.

In the past weeks a series of unions have walked out for a day, two days, up to a week. The losers are the patients. Unions want power, they are not in the health care field, and they are in the power and control industry instead.

““Crude by rail transport is particularly risky in California because California crude transport routes include travel through some of the state’s most densely populated areas, as well as some of the most sensitive ecological areas and because there are significant gaps in local emergency response capabilities,” the lawsuit says.

The Air District says the project would have only minimal impact on air quality and it disputes the allegations that it acted in secret.”

NHS-nurse-hospital_2519626b

Kaiser: Healthcare Union Put Patients at Risk During Strike

Walkout comes amid claims company has failed to hire enough mental health workers

BY: Bill McMorris, Washington Free Beacon, 1/29/15
A “militant” healthcare union put patients at risk during a weeklong walkout at one of America’s largest healthcare providers, according to company officials.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) has staged a series of strikes at Kaiser Permanente’s west coast facilities, accusing the company of failing to address mental health needs adequately. Thousands of healthcare workers in California and Hawaii participated in a strike from Jan. 12 to Jan. 19. Kaiser officials say that NUHW is putting its bargaining interests ahead of the health of patients.

“Union tactics designed to put our patients at risk are not productive,” John Nelson, Kaiser’s vice president of government relations, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon.

The union, which did not respond to requests for comment, contests that Kaiser has failed to hire enough personnel in the mental health division leading to increased waiting times for patients. The company was forced to pay a $4 million fine after running afoul of stringent California mental health regulations in 2013. Kaiser officials have said that NUHW is using the strike to boost its membership.

“NUHW has spent the last several years publicly attacking our mental health services, while at the same time resisting important steps we are taking to enhance mental health care for our patients,” Nelson said in a Jan. 10 release. “Although NUHW has been using intimidation and obstructionism to try to achieve its goals, we will not let that stop us from continuing to make progress on addressing the national challenge facing all mental health care providers.”

NUHW has a combative history. It was formed in 2009 by “militant” labor organizers that broke away from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against NUWH after discovering that the fledgling union stole information from SEIU.

NUHW has spent the last several years trying to poach members from SEIU with mixed results. It lost two NLRB elections in 2011 and 2013 that would have converted 45,000 Kaiser Permanente workers from SEIU to NUHW.

Kaiser has extensive experience working with labor unions. About 70 percent of its 175,000 workforce are union members, and the company bargains with nearly 30 separate unions. NUHW is the only group that has failed to secure a contract for its 5,000 members, despite years of negotiation. The strike began after the union abandoned federal mediation, a decision Kaiser called “entirely unnecessary and counterproductive.”

Kaiser was able to sign contracts with two separate labor unions during the seven-day walkout, including an agreement with the California Nurses Association—a union with which the NUHW is affiliated.

“While these agreements need to be ratified by the unions’ membership, the very fact that we achieved these agreements demonstrates Kaiser Permanente’s unparalleled and successful 70-year history of engaging constructively with the labor unions that represent our employees,” Nelson said in a Jan. 19 release. “These two agreements are also a clear and timely reminder to NUHW that differences are best resolved at the bargaining table, not on a picket line.”

Nelson said that if the NUHW is truly interested in brokering a deal for its members and improving mental healthcare, it should negotiate in good faith with Kaiser, as other labor outfits do.

“We have decades of experience successfully resolving issues at the bargaining table, to the benefit of all involved,” Nelson said. “That’s what should have happened here.”